Spring Mix & A Big Win: Light Festive Fare And A Gift for You!
THREE hefty salads that will leave you light on your feet and a chance to win an Amazon giftcard that will leave your wallet a little heavier.
|Melissa Matthews||Apr 2|
In This Issue…
Happy Good Friday and Abundant April, Love!
How are you? What have you been eating this week?
It's a high holy week for Christians around the world. Whether you're Christian or not it can be hard to resist all of the candy and treats available at discounted rates this time of year.
Have you been eating up hot cross buns and chocolate Easter eggs? You can tell me, this is a safe space. I'm not judging you.
Even if you have over indulged, that's your business and there's no need to panic. I've got you!
This week, we're going to prepare NOT one, but three deliciously filling salads that you can serve alongside your Easter treats for a little redemption or have as a full meal to resurrect your healthy eating goals.
We are making a new school twist on a family gathering/cookout classic, pasta salad. I'm using Tandoori cauliflower, roasted tomatoes, chickpeas, and a tangy tofu dressing to turn this classic on it's head.
For our second dish, we're making a cold quinoa salad with homemade Thai peanut vinaigrette, peppers, onions, corn, cucumber, toasted sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and crispy sweet potato croutons.
Last, but certainly not least, we are infusing a classic Trini green fig salad with broccoli stems and spinach for a more nutrient dense version!
We'll be jamming to a playlist entitled Rise as we resurrect the joy of eating healthy without sacrificing flavor during these high holy holidays!
This is a warm or room temperature pasta salad. Although I'm not opposed to a cold pasta salad every now and then, some flavors—like the ones we have in this remix—lend themselves to a warmer touch.
If you're an avid reader, you'll remember this Tandoori Cauliflower recipe from early last month. It's so nice, I was determined to find other ways to use it...TAH DAH! Tandoori pasta salad!
What you'll need...
1/2 block of firm tofu
1 large head of cauliflower
1 pack of short pasta of your choice
1 can of chickpeas
1 red onion
2-3 sweet peppers (all colors)
4 Roma tomatoes
Agave/Monk fruit sweetener/brown sugar
Apple cider vinegar
1 wooden spoon
1 baking tray
What you'll need to do....
#1 Soak, drain and cut up your cauliflower
I say this every single time, but in case you are new here, if you buy organic cauliflower, you MUST soak it in cool salted water for at least fifteen minutes to get rid of bugs. Cabbage loopers LOVE cauliflower. The soaking will dehydrate them and then you can drain and rinse your cauliflower to prepare as normal.
You want cut your cauliflower into bite sized pieces because this is a salad and you want to be able to get a little bit of everything with each bite.
#2 Make your Tandoori sauce
In a small ball, mix 2 tablespoons of turmeric, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder, 1–2 teaspoons of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of salt. You are adding enough oil to create a thick but viscous sauce. Mix well and then massage into veg. Let sit.
#3 Dice up and season your tomatoes
You want to dice your tomatoes into quarters or eighths. Leave the skin on to help them hold their shape. Once diced, drizzle them with oil and season with a touch of sazon, a sprinkle of sea salt, one drop of soy sauce for a little umami and an ancestor shimmy of brown sugar. Let sit for 2 minutes.
#4 Drain, rinse and season your chickpeas
Rinse your peas well to wash off any excess salt. Season with paprika, garlic powder and black pepper.
#5 Put your pasta to boil
I like to use twists or penne for my salads. Use whatever you like, but make sure to follow the package directions so that it is al dente. Mushy or gloopy pasta salad is NOT it. We rebuke it in the name of all that is holy. This should take anywhere from 2 to 6 minutes.
#6 Get baked
Lay your seasoned veg and peas on a baking tray and put it under the broiler for twenty minutes on 400 degrees fahrenheit or until the cauliflower is tender.
#7 Got to be dressed
While your veg bakes/broils get started on your creamy tofu dressing.
In your blender or food processor add your tofu (broken in small pieces), quarter cup of plant-based milk, scallion and a splash of ACV or lemon juice. Blend until smooth and creamy, season to taste with black pepper, sea salt, and a salt free seasoning blend.
No tofu? No problem. Make a quick vegan ranch using full fat coconut milk, two splashes of ACV and Sazon (Badia complete). I was too lazy to defrost my tofu, today and made this instead. I may abandon my tofu dressing altogether.
#8 Everybody in the not-so-hot-tub
Put all of your ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. I like to add a bit of pickled red onion to the mix. Just thinly slice it and dress it with acv, salt and pepper before mixing in.
Voila! Serve at room temperature for the best eating experience.
Couldn't ask for a quicker or easier meal than this. It's just a little bit of chopping, toasting and boiling.
What you'll need…
1/2 cup of hemp seeds toasted
1/2 cup of sesame seeds toasted
1 cup of quinoa
1 sweet potato (optional)
1 can of sweet corn drained
1 red onion finely diced
1 cucumber finely diced
2 Roma tomatoes diced
3-4 sweet peppers diced
Soy sauce/tamari/liquid aminos
Creamy peanut butter
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Oil (coconut, grapeseed, canola, avocado or a neutral oil of your choosing)
Red chili flakes
Garlic powder (or 1 fresh clove grated in)
2 medium sized pots
1 wooden spoon
1 baking tray
What you'll need to do...
#1 Rinse and boil your quinoa
We're not new to this, we're true to this. You can rinse your quinoa in a strainer or colander under the tap until the water runs clear and then put it in a pot of boiling water—just enough to cover 1/4 inch above the quinoa— for 13 minutes. I recommend lightly salting your water to avoid a bland salad. At the 13-minute mark or just shy of whenever your package says your quinoa will be al dente, turn off the heat and let steam for 2 to 5 minutes. There should be NO excess water in your pot at this point. Then fluff with a fork and set in the fridge to cool down.
#2 Finely dice your veg
Dice everything up into bite sized pieces, including your washed and peeled sweet potato. Set your diced sweet potato aside. Add the rest of the veg to a large bowl along with your drained and rinsed sweet corn and some diced scallion, season with salt and black pepper. Let sit.
#3 Parboil your sweet potato
Drop your bite-sized sweet potato pieces into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.
Drain them well.
Spread them out on a baking sheet, season with sesame oil, salt and pepper and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until crispy.
#4 Make your dressing
Two table spoons of peanut butter, 1/4 cup or a little less of soy sauce, a splash of ACV, 1/4 cup of a neutral oil, chili flakes, and garlic powder to taste. Whisk until smooth and it's ready to use.
#5 Toast your seeds
In a dry pan over a low heat, add all of your seeds and stir constantly until the sesame seeds turn a light brown. Set aside.
Take the large bowl with your veg, drizzle a tiny bit of dressing on the veg only. Toss everything together until well incorporated. Serve with more dressing.
I love a green fig salad, but HATE the way some folks prepare it with mayonnaise. It's worse than potato salad with mayonnaise. All around provision and mayonnaise are a NO for me. We can fight about it, but it's right up there with my belief that dumplings are trash, so you probably won't win. This is a simple, but tasty approach to making a tasty, filling, mayonnaise-free lunch.
What you'll need...
1/2 cup of spinach (rinsed very well)
2 cloves of garlic grated
2 pimentos finely diced
2 large broccoli stems peeled and diced
3-4 green banana (fig)
Colander or steamer
What you'll need to do...
#1 Boil your fig
Slice the ends off of each green banana.
Make a skin deep incision down the length of each green banana.
Put them into a pot of boiling water.
Boil until fork tender and peel.
Dice up the green bananas into bite sized pieces.
#2 Prep your stems and aromatics
Peel your stems until you get to the tender white center. Dice them up and set aside. Grate your garlic and size up your pimentos.
#3 Fry it up
In a dry pan, add your fig/banana, all of your aromatics, a splash of roucou and dry seasonings to taste. Sauté until the stems are softened.
#4 Wash your spinach
Submerge your spinach in a little bit of salt water to make sure it's completely clean. Then rinse off the salt water.
#5 Serve it up
Make a bed of spinach on a serving dish and add your fig salad on top. This salad needs no dressing, but you can add salt and pepper to taste. Make sure to get a few spinach leaves on your plate with the salad for a refreshing addition.
That’s it; that’s all I’ve got today! I hope that you enjoy one or all of these salads during your holiday weekend or are at least inspired to come up with your own freestyle.
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Until we cook together again, stay healthy and inspired.
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